Takeoff is postponed: For super-heavy aircraft in Russia there is no engine
The main characteristic of this class of aircraft — carrying capacity. As well as the volume of the cargo compartment and, of course, the flight range with the cargo. And here «Ruslan» is ahead not only the first modification of «galaxy» — 5A but also the second — 5 V, which appeared in 1986. The ratio here is 120 tons against 118 tons. The volume of the cargo compartment of the An-124 is significantly larger — 1050 cubic meters against 878 cubic meters And the range of Ruslan is higher. With a maximum load, it is able to fly 4800 km, «American» — 4000 km.
There is still such a characteristic as the speed of flight, but it does not play a significant role. «Galaxy» faster, its cruising speed reaches 888 km/h, «Ruslan» it is equal to 830 km/h.
However, for five years, since 2014, the world leader in heavy transport aircraft is a modification of the C5M Super Galaxy. This aircraft lifts 122.5 tons of cargo into the air. The maximum flight range increased to 4,400 km.
Of course, the difference in carrying capacity at «Ruslan» in comparison with the new American car not so hot what. However, quite sad is the difference in the number of aircraft that are operated in Russia and in the United States. The VKS is 24 aircraft, another 12 — in civil aviation. The US air force — 58 aircraft, 31 of which — Super Galaxy.
According to the «Stars», of our «Ruslans» can fly only half of the machines, the rest are used to obtain spare parts. Because Ukraine cannot and does not want to provide them to us. And that’s pretty weird. Because most of these aircraft — 36, was built at the Ulyanovsk aircraft plant. And only 17 in Kiev. And the last cars in Ulyanovsk were completed in 2004. In this connection, it is possible to assume that in Russia since then this technology (unlike 90th years) was not lost finally and irrevocably.
However, the modernization of the An-124, indeed, is impossible due to the opposition of Kiev. However, the aircraft is still being upgraded, but to the level of An-124−100M, that is, before the modification, which was developed «in previous» years. Its essence is to update the avionics.
However, last year there was active talk about the possibility of restoring the production of An-124 in Ulyanovsk. With such a proposal in the summer of 2018, the commander of the BTA Vladimir Benedict. This idea was supported by the then General Director of the enterprise «Ilyushin» Alexey Rogozin.
However, soon this information was denied by the transport aviation Division of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). And it’s not in the bureaucratic machinations, which can be solved in Kiev. In the engine. «Ruslan» has 4 turbojet engines D-18T, which develop joint traction in 4×23500 kgs. It was developed in the former Dnipropetrovsk and is in the group «Motor Sich». Its analog in Russia does not exist.
At the moment, for heavy and super-heavy aircraft in the company «Aviadvigatel», 2016 year creates a promising engine PD-35, which should develop traction in 30,000 kg. It is expected that the testing of prototypes will begin in 2020, and the engine will be launched in serial production in 2026. By the way, 180 billion rubles have been allocated for its creation. So no resumption of production up to this point can be neither practically nor theoretically.
However, this fact does not prevent the industry leaders to talk about the creation of the first Russian super-heavy aircraft for the BTA.
It all started with the project Il-106, which began to develop in the mid-90s. Then he was frozen for a long time. And reanimated in the second half of zero’s. The aircraft had to carry from 80 to 100 tons of cargo at a distance of 5000 kilometers. Under him, Samara KB Kuznetsov almost made the engine NK-93 with a thrust of 18000 kg. It was assumed that if you need to significantly exceed the load capacity of the aircraft, install it not 4 and 8 engines, as was done on the strategic bomber B-52.
However, after some time the work stalled due to lack of funding. And the Il-106 was canceled. We were abandoned and all work on NK-93, which was already nearing completion.
The idea to get a promising heavy aviation complex transport aircraft revived in the early 10-ies. And once again rushed into the fight Ilyushin, it happened in 2013. The new project was named «Ermak».
It was assumed absolutely fantastic prospects not only to replace the domestic heavyweight domestic Park An-22 «Antey» and An-124 but also a partial displacement from the international market of American aircraft C-17 Globemaster and C-5 Galaxy. At the stage of preliminary design, the load capacity was not called, it was only indicated that «Ermak» should belong to the class «100+». The production of the aircraft intended to run in the 2024 year. When familiarizing with the new project, it could be established that it was a continuation of the Il-106. But with the new engine — PD-35. That’s why the designers and intended to surpass the performance of «Ruslan». Indeed, the thrust of the PD-35 25% higher than that of the D-18T. The wide use of composite materials was to give an additional benefit.
It was also intended to achieve from the perspective of the aircraft record in relation to the «Ruslan» ratio of the weight of cargo and flight range — at the expense of more efficient fuel consumption.
It should be noted that both new projects inherited from Ruslan the design of the cargo compartment with two ramps, allowing to load large-sized heavy military equipment.
But this project was also closed. Partly due to the reduction of the budget of the military-industrial complex for the period up to 2027. Partly with vague prospects for a relatively new engine with record performance.
It seems that the decision on the «forced landing» Ermak» influenced trial talks about the resumption of the production of «Ruslan». Say, so it is good that it is not necessary and to try from good to look for the good. We can assume that soon it will be decided to create on the basis of the An-124 new aircraft for the BTA. Or it has already been adopted but has not yet been made public. However, the announcement of the new (which is already on the account?) the project of creating a super-heavy aircraft will not say a word about the prototype of this deep modernization. The project will be once again named PAK TA.
Of course, the prototype will only glider. And the engines will be different — PD-35. And avionics, because electronics and instrumentation, which are used in the modification of the An-124−100M, are already outdated. Almost 30 years have passed since the Soviet times when all this was created.
However, there are projects that involve the complete replacement of the fuselage. In 2016 at TSAGI conducted research on the development of advanced aircraft «Elephant». To date, three models of the aircraft have been aerodynamically purged. When using four engines PD-35 «Elephant» must have a capacity of 150-180 tons.
The range can be up to 8 thousand kilometers. And this is not proactive work. TSAGI it ordered the Ministry of industry and trade. If there is a prospect of a real embodiment of ideas in concrete planes, then the Ministry of defense will undoubtedly join the customers.
There are other projects. For example, the creation of a supersonic monster with a capacity of 200 tons. And, oddly enough, it is absolutely unreal in technical terms that cannot be called. Thus, the strategic missile carrier Tu-160 is able to reach a speed of 2200 km/h and carry 45 tons of bombs and missiles. This is ensured by the use of four engines NK-32 with a thrust afterburner equal to 25,000 kg. But in financial terms, of course, this is complete nonsense. And the development will cost prohibitively, and the plane will devour excessive amounts of fuel.
In General, conversations and heated discussions about the promising super-heavy aircraft do not cease. And who at the same time and now there.
But maybe this is normal in a financial deficit? That is not to take part in the race of cargo capacity of transport aircraft. Because of almost 90% of army cargo transported by air «middle» — Il-76 and various modifications of the An-12.